Qantas to require vaccination for all employees

© Kyodo News

Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd., which also owns budget carrier Jetstar, said Wednesday it will require all of its 22,000 group employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Pilots, cabin crew and airport workers need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, while all other employees have until March 31, with exceptions made for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

The airline follows such airlines as United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines in mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for their domestic employees, according to U.S. media.

The policy came after a survey of 12,000 employees that found 89 percent had already been vaccinated or were planning to be, and around three-quarters of staff feel vaccines should be a requirement.

"It's clear that vaccinations are the only way to end the cycle of lockdowns and border closures," chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement. "For a lot of Qantas and Jetstar employees, that means getting back to work again."

The airline has previously stated its intention to require all international passengers to be vaccinated once Australia's borders reopen.